Marco, Marty and the Twins
by Nick Brady
Copyright © 2016 – 2016 by Nick Brady, all rights reserved.
The first weekend in October the Webelo den held an overnight campout in Marco and Marty's back yard. Brian borrowed some equipment from his scout troop and they set up around a ring of stones that Marco and Brian had built in the center of the yard. Marco and Marty agreed that this would likely end up a permanent part of the landscape but decided it was a worthy sacrifice.
Brian also secured a stack of firewood from someplace along with some dead limbs that would allow for the traditional three stacks of wood for the fire. Brian was a very resourceful scout. He also borrowed a 12 inch dutch oven, the kind that stood on legs and had a flange around the lid to hold coals above the kettle.
They assembled around the fire ring and proceeded to build their fire. Marco nodded to Brian and began his instruction.
"OK Now, lets get our wood ready for the fire," Marco began. "Remember from our Bear campout, we need three sizes of wood – little stuff for kindling, some medium sized things to catch easily and some larger pieces to make a good fire. Help me sort this out and we can start breaking some of the dead branches into small pieces."
The boys fell to the task and soon had their three piles of acceptable fire wood. With Brian's assistance the boys built the fire. They piled up the kindling and carefully placed one of their wax fire starters on top of the little twigs and branches, then laid a teepee of medium sized pieces around that with larger stuff on the outside. When Marco was satisfied that it looked right, they stood back to admire it.
"You know, there are other ways to lay a fire," Brian told them. This is what we call a teepee and it is good for a cooking fire because it doesn't take a lot of wood and burns down to coals pretty quickly. But we could build a log cabin fire too. That's where you make a square stack of big stuff, with the smaller stuff in the center. It takes more wood but makes a bigger fire that will burn longer. That's good for a campfire to gather around. We can do that another time. There are a lot of ways to do this sort of thing."
"Good, thanks Brian," Marco said. "Now we need to light this baby. Who wants to start it up?"
Of course they all did. Marco decided that Kenny needed some positive attention. "Can you get this thing going Kenny?"
Kenny grinned, "I bet I can," he said, and took the wooden match, crouched down next to the pile of wood, striking the match on a stone and carefully slid it in to light the wax fire starter. After a moment the edge of the wax blob caught fire and quickly blazed up igniting the kindling beneath it. With no further effort they soon had a good fire going.
"Wow, those things really work," Ben exclaimed.
"Yeah, they do," Marco said, almost surprised at how much easier this was than using a wad of newspaper.
"And it will work even if the wax thing gets wet," Lawrence reminded them.
They stood back and admired their handiwork.
"OK now, lets make some dutch oven stew," Marco told them.
He had purchased the ingredients with the den dues money and had it all set out on their backyard picnic table.
"Here we go, these are our ingredients for this creation," Marco showed them.
1 pound of ground beef1 onion3 potatoes1 can green beans1 can baked beans1 can black beans1 can corn
1 can Rotel tomatoes1 package of Chili powder
"This is what you need," Marco assured them. He produced a potato peeler and a kitchen knife from his kitchen. Take turns and we want to peel the potatoes and dice them up. Someone else can peel the outside layer from the onion and dice it up then we can get started. Please don't cut off a finger.
While this was going on, Brian tended to the fire and soon had it rendered into a bed of coals.
Marco was not familiar with using a dutch oven on a camp fire, but he was a pretty good cook and began to feel more confident that this was going to be a success.
"OK now, Brian would you tell us how to use the dutch oven? You have more experience with this than I do."
Brian stepped up to the challenge. "The deal with a dutch oven is that it will get really hot on the bottom. You don't want to put it right on the fire. We want to pull some coals off to the side and set the pot down on them. It will stand on those little legs. We just want one layer of coals underneath. We can add more if it starts to cool off, OK?"
The boys watched intently as Brian pulled some live coals off to one side with a little shovel and sat the oven on top of them.
Marco took the ground beef and dropped in it the kettle, chopping at it with a spatula to break it into smaller pieces and flipping them over as they browned. It began to smell good. He handed the spatula to Tyron. "You keep doing that until the hamburger is brown, with no more pink, OK? And Ben, you and Tony get those cans opened."
Interest began to pick up. "Where is the chopped onion?" Marco called, "Put the onion in there and stir it in with the meat." Sam grabbed the onion and tossed it in as Tyron continued to stir. After a minute Marco called for the chili seasoning. "Toss that in there." Now they were busy.
There was enough grease from the hamburger to set the mixture frying. "Now for the potatoes," Marco instructed, and they were added and stirred. "OK, now, who has the cans of beans and stuff?"
Those were dumped in and Lawrence took over the spatula. Thy added a bean-can full of water and there was enough liquid to make what was beginning to look like stew with meat, onion, potato, beans, corn and tomato swimming around. It smelled very interesting.
The addition of the vegetables cooled off the mixture and Brian used a glove to pick the pot up by its wire handle and scooped some more coals under if from the larger fire.
"You have to watch this thing," Brian advised them. "This isn't like your stove at home where you can set the burner and walk off. You have to stay with this and watch it." The boys nodded with a look of understanding. They were getting the idea.
Now that all the ingredients were in the pot they were to watch it and stir often, adding coals if needed or pulling some away if it looked like it was beginning to scorch. This was fun, and smelled very interesting to what was now a group of very hungry boys.
"How long do we cook this stuff," Tyron asked.
"Until the potatoes get tender," Brian told them. Keep poking at the bigger pieces of potato until they feel soft."
"OK," Lawrence answered and pressed on some chunks of potato. They were still pretty solid.
The boys squatted around the dutch oven and took turns giving it a stir until Brian decreed that it was ready. Marco had supplied some disposable bowls and plastic spoons, and Brian lifted the pot from the fire and set in on the picnic table. The steaming aroma filled the evening air.
"Line up guys. It's time to eat," Marco announced and they needed no encouragement. "There is a gallon of cold milk and cups on the table and salt and pepper if you want it," he added. "There is a loaf of bread too, and a tub of margarine. Help yourselves."
It got quiet as the boys devoted themselves to the stew, and agreed that it was most edible. Seconds were available until the pot was empty.
When it was all gone Brian set the dutch oven on a fresh layer of coals next to the camp fire and filled it with water to soak. "You aren't through until everything is cleaned up," he told them.
"Well, how was it guys?" Marco asked.
"This was really good," they agreed.
"Do you think you know how to do this now?" Marco asked. They thought they did.
Brian told them, "You can use a Dutch oven to cook all kinds of things. It can be a frying pan, a cook pot like tonight, or a real oven. I think we're going to cook biscuits tomorrow, right?" Brian looked at Marco.
"That's the plan," Marco said with a smile.
They sat for awhile and digested their dinner. Soon it began to get dark and Marco realized that they needed to set up the tents.
"How many tents did you bring?" he asked Brian.
"I just brought four, will that be enough?"
Well, if I sleep out here with you that's nine of us. There will have to be three in one of the tents. I can sleep with Sam and Ben, that will work."
"OK, let me get them going on the tents," Brian volunteered.
With Brian coaching them they got the tents set up rather quickly. All the boys had camped before and except for Kenny and Lawrence had set up these same tents. The new boys had set up the same kind of tents with their former dens and seemed to know what to do. They decided to arrange their tents back from the four sides of the camp fire and the result looked pretty good. They were getting better at this.
When the tents were set up, Brian supervised building up the campfire from the coals that remained. When it was blazing nicely, they got a surprise visit.
Marty had been in the house watching the activity in the back yard with amusement. When he answered a knock at the door he found two uniformed police officers standing there.
"Excuse me sir, but we have a report of a fire at this location," The older officer told him.
"Oh, yes. Well, we are having a campout in the back yard," Marty tried to explain.
"If you don't mind sir, we need to have a look."
"Certainly. Please come through," Marty led them through the house and into the back yard.
"Hey Marco. Someone wants to talk with you," Marty called out.
Marco turned to see the officers standing near the house and hurried over.
"What can I do for you?" he asked.
"We have a report of a fire at this location," the officer repeated.
"Oh, I see. Well, we have a den of Webelo scouts here for a campout. We showed them how to build a fire and we cooked our dinner over it. We were going to sort of tell stories and stuff. Would you like to have a look?" Marco replied rather nervously.
The policeman looked rather suspicious and walked to where the boys were standing around the fire.
Brian took stock of the situation and approached the officers. "Let us show you our campsite sir," he said brightly. "We prepared a very safe fire pit, see the stones around it? The fire is safely contained and we have a bucket of water next to it. Of course there is a water hose connected to the house." Brian pointed to the Dutch oven. "We cooked stew in the pot there and are cleaning it up so we can use it again for breakfast, and we have our tents all set up as you can see...."
"The older officer held up his hand as if he had heard enough. "Do you have a permit to build a fire like this?" he wanted to know.
"Uh, well sir, no actually. Isn't this like using a barbecue pit or something?" Marco stammered.
"It's an open fire on the ground, that's different," the older man said with a tone of annoyance.
The younger officer was looking things over with a smile. "Hey Fred," he asked his partner. "Were you ever in scouts?"
The older man frowned. "No, what about it?"
"This is a group of scouts having a backyard campout. Look around, they are doing this right." He nodded to Marco and Brian. "You guys are looking good."
The older officer looked unconvinced. "They need a permit."
"Now Fred, lighten up man. They aren't hurting anything." The younger man turned to Marco. "I was in scouts all the time I was growing up. It's a great program. This looks good here."
Marco dared to smile. "Thank you sir. It's hard to find a safe place for a little overnight. I thought we could just do it here at the house."
"Sure you can. You look like you have everything under control. Is he one of your scouts?" he asked and pointed at Brian.
"Yes sir, Brian is about to make Life scout. He is our Den Chief and an very experienced scout."
"I can see he is. Good boy, scouting makes good boys. You guys hold it down and take it easy, OK?" He turned and put his hand on the older officer's shoulder, "Come on Fred. We got better things to do."
Fred sputtered a little but they walked back through the house and drove away.
Marco and Brian looked at each other and laughed. "That went well," Marco said. "You won them over, Brian."
Brian grinned broadly. "I just gave them a quick tour. We're lucky that the younger guy was a scout."
Marco put his hand on Brian's shoulder. "Really, you stepped up and knew just what to say. Thanks."
Brian turned and spoke to the boys. "We need to have our campfire now that we have police approval. Gather around and let's tell some stories and jokes. Maybe our Den Leader will lead us in singing Bill Grogan's Goat."
Marco laughed loudly. "I can sure do that. Let's have a nice camp fire."
And they did. Marco told a scary story that he had read on the scouting website, Brian added one of his own, then the boys started to tell jokes. Dumb jokes, nine-year-old kind of jokes, the dumber the better and they laughed enthusiastically at everything.
At ten o'clock Marco decided that it would be prudent to shut things down and get quiet. He turned to Brian and suggested, "Lets get these guys paired up and in the tents before we get raided again."
Brian smiled, "Good plan." He turned to the boys, "Hey you guys, pair up and get in the tents. Your sleeping bags are on the back porch over there. Grab your bag and get in a tent."
Marco expected them to grumble, but the visit by the police may have convinced them that they should go quietly. They conferred amongst themselves to chose a tent partner. Tyron and Tony crawled in together and the new boys Kenny and Lawrence decided to pair up. Sam, Ben and Bobby got in the third tent.
Marco stuck his head in their tent and asked his sons, "What about me? I thought we would tent together again."
"Aw Daddy, we want to tent with Bobby," both twins agreed.
Marco looked around at Brian. "I'll tent with you," Brian said quietly.
"Marco hesitated. "I don't think I'm supposed to do that. I mean it's OK to share a tent with your own kids, but..., you know..."
Brian Shrugged. "It's OK with me. Maybe we could talk or something."
Marco didn't respond so Brian walked to the porch and picked up the remaining two sleeping bags, his own and Marco's, walked back to the empty tent and tossed them inside. He turned and looked at Marco with a smile and crawled inside.
Marco stood and thought about the situation. He was the only adult present, which was probably not a good idea in the first place. He was about to share a tent with a fourteen year old boy who he realized was quite attractive. The boy had shared with him that he had some conflicts with his sexuality and Marco himself was gay. It occurred to him that this could be a recipe for disaster. Should he go sleep inside and let Brian have the tent to himself? But then, Brian said he wanted to talk. Perhaps this was important to Brian. What should he do?
As Marco wrestled with his conscience Brian leaned out of the tent and motioned for him to come on. Marco took a deep breath and walked over to the tent. He looked down at Brian. "Are you sure this is OK?"
Brian smiled and nodded, then scooted back inside the tent. Marco followed.
They sat cross-legged on each side of the tent and looked at each other. "Thanks," Brian said. I kind of wanted to talk to you."
"I know, and I want to talk to you. But you know I'm gay, and this might not look right."
Brian took a deep breath. "I know you are. That's what I wanted to talk about. You said that we might have a lot of things in common and I think maybe you're right."
"Are you coming out to me?" Marco asked very quietly.
Brian sighed and nodded his head. "I think so."
"How long have you known?"
"Since I was pretty young. I knew what my father was doing was wrong, but I also knew I kind of liked it. I liked a lot of it anyway, not all, but a lot of it."
"You want to tell me about it? Marco asked.
Brian took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "You said I needed to talk to somebody. Can I really trust you? I mean, I have never told anybody about this stuff."
Marco made his decision. "Yes Brian. You can trust me. You can tell me anything and I will never repeat it to a living soul."
They sat in silence for several minutes as Brian screwed up his courage. He stretched out on his sleeping bag, folded his arms across his chest and closed his eyes, then began to tell his story in a quiet voice.
"I told you a little bit. When I was pretty young, my dad started getting in bed with me and feeling me up, and got me to feel of him. It was scary and confusing, but I kind of liked it. My dad didn't usually pay that much attention to me and so this was kind of nice in a way, you know? Anyway, this went on until I was maybe nine or ten. By then he would take off all my clothes and his too, and hold me and rub up against me." Brian stopped and turned to look at Marco.
Marco had stretched out on his side next to Brian and was looking at him intently. "I'm listening," he said.
Brian's voice got very faint. "He would suck me, you know, like, suck me. And he asked me to suck him. It was so big it was hard to do. Maybe he wasn't really all that big, but I was pretty little, you know?" he paused and looked over at Marco who nodded his head reassuringly.
"The problem was that I liked it. I knew I shouldn't, but I did. But then he started to stick his fingers up my butt, and then...," Brian's breath caught and he hesitated. "And then he started putting his.... He started fucking me."
Brian had to stop and compose himself. He looked at Marco again, looking for disapproval or disgust, but Marco's face was gentle and compassionate.
Marco nodded. "You're OK, I'm still listening. Go on."
"Once he started doing that, and I didn't cry or tell my mother, he did it a lot. I didn't like it at first. I mean it hurt, you know? But after awhile I liked that too. I would be disappointed if he didn't come into my bedroom sometimes and I guess I wanted him to do it." Brian's voice choked for a minute and he was quiet.
Then when I was maybe twelve I started getting bigger, you know, like puberty. And he didn't like that. When I started getting hair he didn't like it, but he still came in and did it to me." Brian looked over at Marco. "It was real confusing, you know."
Brian let out a long sigh. "When he first started doing this stuff, he would hold me and kiss me, like on the lips, you know? And he would tell me he loved me, He never told me that except then he was messing with me." Brian's voice became husky. "I liked it when he did that. It made me feel good, you know? But when I started getting bigger he quit doing that. He would come in and do it to me, but he wouldn't kiss me or tell me he loved me or anything. He just did what he wanted to do and then got up and left me alone. And, and then I would lie there and jerk off and cry."
Brian turned and looked at Marco with tears running down his cheeks. "Do you hate me Marco?"
"No, of course not. Why should I hate you? I just wish I knew what to say to you to make you understand that I think you are a good person."
Marco spoke is a voice filled with compassion. "Like tonight when you talked to that policeman. You knew exactly the right thing to do, and you did it. You are so good with the boys, and I don't think you would do anything to hurt them. I don't hate you at all. I think you are really a great kid."
"But that's because you don't really know me," Brian choked. "You don't know what I'm really like."
Brian let out a deep sigh. "One night, my mother was mad about something, I don't know what. My father wasn't very nice to her, and they fought all the time. Anyway, she came in my bedroom when he was..., doing it. She opened the door and saw us both naked with him on my back, and she completely freaked out. She started screaming and calling us both names, and was hitting on him and cursing." Brian choked up again. "It..., it was awful."
Marco hesitated, not sure what to say. "I'm so sorry Brian. That must have been horrible. Please go on, if you can."
"Well, I guess what happened is she threw him out. They had a terrible fight. I could hear them screaming at each other. She said she was going to call the police, he was trying to tell her it was my fault. I don't know what all they said to each other, but he left. He packed up some things and took off, and I've never seen him again."
Marco waited for several minutes but Brian seemed to have talked himself out.
"So what happened with you and your mother? "
Brian sighed again. "After that, Mom was different to me. She was angry with me for letting it happen. She wanted to know why I never told her about what was going on, and..., I didn't know what to say. I just didn't know what to say." He took another deep breath. "I live with my grandmother now. Mom said she didn't want me around any more."
Marco tried to chose his words very carefully. "What you did with your father was unforgivable and very confusing for you, I certainly understand that. But maybe to you, that was a way of feeling some kind of love from him. That doesn't mean that you are gay. I mean maybe you are, but.... I don't know, Brian. Have you had sex with anybody else? Was it just with your father coming into your bedroom, or is there more to the story?"
Brian shook his head. "Oh yeah. I have done other stuff. You know, I really love scouting. Baseball and scouting are kind of an escape from me I guess. I honestly don't know what I would do without scouting. The next summer when I was at scout camp, I met this counselor and he was nice to me and a really cool guy. I guess I sort of came on to him and we did some stuff."
Brian looked over at Marco who nodded slowly to him. "OK, so he took me down to the swimming beach at night and we did all kinds of stuff, you know..., all the stuff I did with my father, and I liked it Marco. I really liked it. And then there was another guy...."
"How old were these guys?" Marco wondered.
"They were a little older than me. In their teens, but maybe three or four years older."
"Have you done things with guys your same age, or maybe younger?"
Brian shook his head. "Not really, I guess I was afraid to. I wanted to though. I think about it all the time." Brian's voice choked. "I'm a queer Marco, I'm gay but I don't want to be. I mean, people hate you if you're gay."
Marco turned and lay back on the sleeping bag. "I know Brian. Believe me I know."
Brian turned to look at Marco again. "But you're gay. You are married to another guy and you are really a good person. When did you first know you were gay?"
"I don't know," Marco said honestly. "Forever I guess. I never had your situation. I never had a father. Like I told you, I didn't even know who he was until I was grown and tracked him down. But I never had a girl friend or was even interested in having one. I always kind of knew I liked guys. I did stuff with some guys my own age, then I met Marty when I was sixteen and we started being together. I moved in with him actually, and when I was eighteen we got married. He is seven and a half years older than I am."
Marco looked over at Brian and chuckled. "I didn't expect to have this conversation with one of my scouts."
"Maybe I am not a typical Boy Scout," Brian admitted.
"What can I tell you Brian? What can I say to you to help you understand that being gay is not a bad thing. I think it is how we were born. Some people will tell you that it is something you decide, but I don't think it is. It's like being left handed or having blue eyes. It's what you are born with."
"What happened with your father was horrible. Nobody deserves to have to go through something like that. If you were straight maybe you would have reacted differently, I don't know. It doesn't mean you are bad, or crazy. Somehow you have come through that experience and in spite of it are becoming an exceptional person. Really, maybe it would be helpful if you talked to a therapist about this. It might help you understand better what happened and help you deal with it."
Brian shook his head. "I don't know, maybe. But it is so hard to talk about this. I don't think I could talk to anybody I didn't know and trust. He looked over at Marco. "I trust you. You have been so nice to me and I, I really like you."
Marco got a kind of shiver. "How do you feel about me Brian?"
Brian laid back down and sighed. "I'm not sure how to answer that. I really like you. I like being with you and I trust you. I don't know, I think about things sometimes."
"What kinds of things? Do you think about doing something sexual with me?"
Brian waited a minute before he tried to answer. "Maybe, sometimes. I guess I do think about that."
Marco sat up, turned around and looked at Brian and said quietly, "Let me be very honest with you. How old are you right now?"
"I will be fifteen next month."
"Try to understand Brian, I am twenty-five, married to a man I love very much and am trying to help raise two wonderful nine year old boys. To be very truthful, it's not lost on me that you are attractive and an exceptionally decent person.
Marco lowered his voice and said, "Look, if I was fifteen I could easily fall in love with you. But that just can't happen. I could never anything sexual with you, not because I am not attracted to you but because it just wouldn't be right for a number of reasons. What your father did was wrong. For me to do something with you would be just as wrong. I may be gay but I am an honorable person, and so are you."
Brian's eyes filled with tears. "Now you do hate me. I'm sorry, I'm so confused."
"No, dammit, I don't hate you. You were being honest about how you felt and so am I. How can I make you understand? I went through all the same things, the shame, the guilt, the self hatred. It's tough to be gay. Times may be changing, but it's still tough. What I had to go through, and what you will have to go through, is accepting yourself for the way you are, and deciding how to still be an honorable person."
"I don't know how to do that," Brian choked.
"Yes you do. You know what it's like to be decent and honest and honorable. It's like the stuff in the scout law, all that applies to us, whether we are gay or straight. You cannot allow yourself to take advantage of another person and you can't allow another person to take advantage of you. When I was your age I had sex with all kinds of guys and just knew I was a miserable slut. Don't be a slut and don't be a predator. Be the kind of person you know you really are – a decent honorable person. I don't know any other way to say this to you." Marco sounded more stern than he intended.
Finally Brian spoke again. "I'm sorry. Now I wish I hadn't told you all this stuff."
"Well, you say you think I'm a good person but I guess I just don't believe it."
"You have to believe in yourself, Brian."
"But when I think about this stuff I just feel sick inside."
"Brian, you must feel angry. Don't you feel anger towards your father?"
"I don't know," Brian sighed. "I just wanted him to love me I guess."
"What did he ever do to show his love for you besides sneak into your bed and have sex with you?"
Brian thought for a minute. "Nothing really. Most of the time he treated me like shit."
"Was what he gave to you love? Did he really love you?"
Bran sighed. "No, it wasn't love. I don't think he really loved anybody."
Marco leaned forward and said earnestly, "Brian – Don't settle for anything that isn't real. I don't mean that you have to be celibate until that one and only comes along, but see it for what it is. If you have a friend who wants to play around with you as an equal, well then, do what feels right to you. That's very different from what your father did. Maybe when you played around with your friend at scout camp it might have been OK really. But you were so full of anger and guilt about your father that it seemed like the same horrible thing. Does that make any sense?"
Brian sighed again. "Yeah, it does actually. I'll have to think about that."
"Good, think about it. I don't know what else to tell you."
"Thank you Marco. I think you are maybe the best friend I ever had."
"I don't know about that, but I hope this was helpful."
"You really don't hate me? You really do like me?" Brian's voice quivered.
"No, Yes. Haven't you been listening? Now look, it is almost two o'clock in the morning and we have to get up and feed a bunch of hungry cub scouts in the morning. You can talk to me any time about anything you want, but right now I think we need to get some sleep, OK?"
"Right, OK." Brian took off his pants and shirt and got into his sleeping bag. Marco did the same. Looking at Brian in his undershorts and T-shirt, Marco was struck by how beautiful the boy was.
"Thank you Marco."
"You're welcome. Go to sleep."
"Will you hold me?"
Marco hesitated. The sad voice that Brian spoke to him was that of a frightened young boy who desperately needed to be reassured. Marco turned without a word and wrapped his arms around Brian. From the shoulders down they were in separate sleeping bags, but Marco held him close and felt the boy's tears on his shoulder.
"Good night Brian. You're OK kiddo."
"G'nite" Brian sighed, then in an almost inaudible voice he whispered, "I love you."
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